The Monterey County civil grand jury issued four interim reports Thursday, including one targeting "excessive" overtime costs in the Sheriff's Office.

The other reports examined issues dealing with the Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority, Carmel Area Wastewater District and progress on medical trauma care in the county.

The reports, which are separate from a final report to be released in January when the grand jury finishes its term, brought the number of interim reports to six, an unusually high number.

The grand jury said overtime pay in most county departments is reasonable, but found "an excessive level" in the sheriff's and emergency communications departments.

"We also felt there was a degree of apathy regarding this excessive overtime," the grand jury said.

It recommended the Sheriff's Office impose a cap of 56 hours of work per week and replace deputies on workers' compensation leave with "on loan positions" to reduce overtime costs.

The civil grand jury, which examines operations of local government, also said the county should use more part-time workers to reduce overtime and should highlight overtime costs in budget documents.

County department heads, the grand jury said, should be required to explain overtime costs when they exceed 8 percent of their quarterly payroll.

On the Salinas Valley Solid Waste Authority, an agency exploring two alternate technologies to reduce landfill dumping, the grand jury said the agency should cease research and analysis of "any type of conversion technology.


Advertisement

"

The grand jury said the agency's Sun Street transfer station in Salinas raises "social justice issues."

The county would be better served by a single agency making "long-range strategic decisions ... rather than having competing agencies," the grand jury said.

The Peninsula and Salinas Valley have individual solid waste agencies.

The grand jury followed up the 2010 grand jury's investigation into county trauma-care planning. It said there should be no further extension of the planning timeline, and if neither Natividad Medical Center nor Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital go forward as "Level II trauma center(s)," the county should designate a center with a lower level of care.

The grand jury said the Carmel Area Wastewater District is addressing employee morale issues raised by the 2010 and 2011 hirings of a general manager and facility superintendent. It said the board of directors should "make every effort" to consider internal and outside applicants for senior positions.

But the grand jury said the district is "run efficiently and managed effectively."

The reports, as well as previously released interim reports, are available on the county website (www.co.monterey.ca.us) or the Superior Court website (www.monterey.courts.ca.gov).